Google Hangouts an improvement over Skype

September 28, 2012 Laurence Koret

The Problem

Skype connectivity sometimes drops calls. It is also challenging to schedule with multiple people. We already use Google Apps so it made sense since it would integrate with our other systems so easily.

The Fix

We having using Google Hangouts and have been very pleased with the results so far.

The setup is more involved than using Skype so I am going to detail the steps involved.

3 Things have to be done in order to use a Hangout.

  1. You first must be a member of Google+. If you are doing this for your @pivotallabs.com Google identity make sure you are signing up with your corporate email address and not your personal Google account. Join at plus.google.com.

  2. Enable the Google Video Chat plugin or download from here.

  3. Start a Hangout

    • Go to plus.google.com/hangouts and click the Start a Hangout button on the top right side of your screen.
    • Click the Hangouts icon underneath an interesting post on your Home page to start a hangout about the post.
    • Click the Hangouts icon Google Hangout Logo on the left side of the page and click Start a hangout under the ‘HANGOUT INVITE’ section.
    • You can also start a hangout and send and receive hangout invites from other Google properties including:
      Google Chat properties (ie. Gmail, Google+, iGoogle, orkut) Learn more.
    • Google Calendar Learn more.

Neat things you can do with a Hangout

Schedule a recurring meeting with the same Hangout address

This is very handy for a meeting which happens repeatedly so that you always have the same URL to join, like a standup meeting. This was first found by Joe Moore from Pivotal on this blog entry by David Cummings

The steps are as follows:

  • Create a new event on Google+ Events.
  • Give the event a date far into the future, like the year 2020
  • Go to Event options -> Advanced and click on Google+ Hangout
  • Save the event
  • Share the link to the Google+ Hangout on your repeating Google Calendar event

Get a better quality output if you are doing a live music Hangout using Studio Mode.

Create a Hangout very quickly by using the chat window when signed into your Google email and clicking on the Hangout icon or create an event on your Google calendar and add a Hangout to the event.

Improved Camera

We also found that upgrading the webcam you are using can help to improve your experience. We have upgraded to the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910. This version is Mac compatible, the newer model which is the C920 is not. The 910 provides improved optics with a better lens and an improved depth of field. This version is also easily portable if you have a laptop.

Summary

We only expect the Google Hangout to get better as Google keeps working to improve it. So far it has been a big improvement over Skype.

About the Author

Biography

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